A college staff member who was due to take part in a charity cycle ride between London and Paris, has switched the Eiffel Tower…for his conservatory!

Martin Walker, programme area manager of learning communities, was due to join 40 other Grŵp Llandrillo Menai staff in the charitable adventure, before the current lockdown measures were enforced.

So, rather than sit it out until the revised date next summer, Martin decided to cycle the whole route virtually, utilising an indoor trainer, "from the safety of my own conservatory".  Martin also gained sponsorship for his near-200 mile ride over two days for the Junior Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF).

Martin explained more:

A group of approximately 40 staff was due to complete the London to Paris cycle ride over the following dates May 23 - May 25 2020, starting in London and cycling to Newhaven on day 1. The following two days would have been spent cycling through the French countryside, before eventually reaching Paris and the Eiffel Tower. However, due to COVID 19, we have had to postpone the trip until next year.

So on May 23rd rather than just enjoy the day, I decided to cycle the route virtually using an indoor trainer and from within the relative safety of my conservatory. Day 1 was 67 miles, departing from a virtual Tower Bridge in London, before cycling through the city and into the countryside to Brighton, eventually finishing the day in the coastal town of Newhaven. I managed to cover the distance in 4.5 hours, which included 2,304ft of climbing!

May 24 saw me ride from Dieppe to Paris. We had originally planned to complete this distance over two days, but it wouldn't be a challenge unless you pushed yourself. So, the 112 mile distance would be attempted in one day!

My JDRF charity manager (my sister) said if I used Facebook Live I would increase donations. Really? Do people want to see a middle-aged man in lycra suffering I asked. 'Yes' came the reply. So I apologise to all those who witnessed those brief clips on the college's Facebook page. The good news for the charity was, it worked, so a huge thank you to everyone who donated.

So after a gruelling seven and three-quarter hours, covering 112 miles and 2,829ft of climbing, the Eiffel Tower was in sight…and I could eventually get off that saddle. We are all looking forward to completing the challenge for real next year and hopefully, one of the organisers, Eifion, will have booked the same good weather!

To support Martin, you can donate money to the Junior Diabetes Research Fund by clicking on the link below.